With our first two kids, we owned an audio only monitor, and wondered if the need for video was really necessary. Sure, it would have been nice, but it seemed extravagant and something we could do without, especially since we were a young couple pinching pennies. We had several friends with video monitors, though, and universally they said they were hooked, and couldn’t imagine not having one.
So when the opportunity arose for us to review the Motorola Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor, we decided it was a great chance to check out what we’d been missing all those video-free years of baby monitoring. And just like I suspected, we’d been missing a lot. At the risk of sounding like an oldster, man, has technology come a long way. I suspect that even our friends’ video monitors of five years ago didn’t have the capabilities that this one does, with a swivel option that’s controllable from the parent unit, temperature readings from the room the baby unit resides in, brightness adjustment, microphone that allows the parent to transmit sound to the baby unit, and a full color (3.5″) screen with night vision and zoom, to name just a few.
I especially love that the baby unit comes with a small hole on the bottom that allows you to easily mount it on the wall using only a small nail or screw. With our other monitors, we were always having to find some crazy way to rig them near the crib so that our kids couldn’t reach them (or the cord) but that we could still hear them well. (As newbie parents, we would have preferred the monitor be inches from our first kid’s face, which, of course, isn’t necessary, but we wanted to hear every single sound.) This way we can put the monitor right where we need it, whether there’s a surface to sit it on or not.
Another favorite feature of mine is the swivel—when our baby has scooched his way down to the end of the crib and I happen to check the screen and for one heart-stopping moment can’t see him, I can just use the up/down, left/right arrow buttons on the left side of the parent unit to manipulate the camera until I find him, curled into a ball and butt in the air, safe and sound. I wasn’t sure about the microphone feature (in other words, whether or not I would ever use it), but it turns out that a few times when my son stirred in the night but was not quite all the way awake, I was able to use it to “Shhhhh”him back to sleep remotely. The monitor also comes with a melody feature, where you can choose one of five songs to pipe through to the baby unit, but this is actually my least favorite function, since the songs sound exactly like you’d expect monitor-piped lullabies to sound (tinny, electronic). We use a CD player in our baby’s room anyway, so it’s not a feature we’ve ever needed.
Though we did not have an additional camera, the monitor does have the capability to broadcast from more than one baby monitor at at time, which would be very helpful if you had twins in separate rooms, or even just children of different ages in separate rooms. The parent monitor can’t show both screens at once—you do have to scan back and forth between cameras, so be aware of that if you plan to buy it and use more than one camera.
The picture on the monitor is great—the night vision is unbelievable. My husband and I marveled at it the first time we set it up, because there is no discernible light that would disturb your baby emitted from the baby unit, and yet you can see your baby as if there is a flashlight on the crib. Amazing. You can adjust the brightness, which is helpful for nighttime vs. naptime sleeping.
The first time we plugged in the baby unit, the parent unit was usable in its wireless capability immediately, but the battery did not seem to hold charge for very long. As I expected, though, as soon as we plugged it in and let it charge for a while, the next time we used it unplugged it lasted far longer. The screen will shut off after a while if the unit is unplugged, but when it is plugged in, it stays on automatically until you manually switch it off.
Could we have made it through our third child’s babyhood without a video monitor? Without a doubt. But we definitely join the ranks of parents who sing its praises, and I do think that buying one with your first child, especially if you plan to have more, is a worthy investment. The Motorola Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor has gotten rave reviews everywhere I’ve seen it tested, and think it is definitely one to consider when purchasing a video monitor.